Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba, has said that Africa does not lack capacity but the need to strengthen its capacity is very key to the development of the economy.
The DG/CEO made this assertion when he received participants of the ICGEB/NABDA/NBMA/SCBD GMO detection training in his office on Thursday, September 19, 2019.
Dr Ebegba said constant trainings are very important in the strengthening of already existing capacity. “The capacity of Africa to solve her problems through science and technology must not be underestimated we however need to strengthen this capacity to drive our economy.”
He said the commitment of the federal government to this is glaring, as part of this commitment is to establish the NBMA in order to ensure safe deployment of modern biotechnology for the sustainability of the nation’s economy and to enhance our green economy.
He added: “The agency is just about four years and we are running, we have been able to justify ourselves by exhibiting great potential and efficiency in the discharge of our duties.
“We have developed guidelines and have established a modern-state-of-the-art GM detection and analysis laboratory to ensure that every genetically modified seed, grain and product that comes into the Nigerian market is properly tested and analysed for safety – which is our watch word.
“As an Agency, it is our duty to ensure that only safe and approved GM product are allowed into the Nigerian market and we have made sure we go by our mandate.”
Dr Ebegba said the agency would continue to regulate development agencies, research institutes, developers and importers of GMOs so that a holistic biosafety system can be achieved in Nigeria and safety in the deployment of these products can be ensured.
The DG/CEO commended the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) and the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) for their efforts in making the training a success.
He said the contributions of the ICGEB, SCBD and NABDA to the training have been immense and Nigeria was honoured to have hosted the training.
Head of the ICGEB e-learning platform and programme specialist, Felix Moronta, commended the DG/CEO of the NBMA for his doggedness in ensuring a holistic biosafety system in the country and noted that the ICGEB would continue to ensure that the e-learning platform will be properly monitored and enhanced for the benefit of the agency.
The team had earlier visited the agency’s GM detection and analysis laboratory where the Head of the Laboratory, Josephine Amedu, took them on a tour of some of the equipment and workings of the Lab.
The Basic Laboratory Training on Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) Detection and Identification organised by ICGEB/ CBD/ NABDA and the NBMA started on Monday, September 16, 2019 and ended on September 20.
It provided participants with hands-on-experience in the detection and analysis of new GMOs/LMOs and improved their performance in areas of relevant laboratory practices.